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Troubleshoot a Failed Hard Drive

If you receive a BSOD or other random error on the Windows operating system, it is usually assumed that it is due to a virus, malware, or other software error. If you have followed all the necessary troubleshooting steps for computer viruses and other Windows software and you still receive an error in the operating system, it could be due to a faulty or faulty hard drive.

If any part of your PC fails, or at least causes errors in Windows, it is most likely the hard drive. Sometimes PC components can fail without warning, causing Windows to stop working, have poor performance, or random errors. In today’s article, we’ll go over some of the ways to troubleshoot a common hard drive.

Hard drives

Hard drives are one of the most common parts of a computer that fail without warning. In addition, hard disk errors can cause many types of Windows errors.

Check hard disk for errors

Check the hard drive for errors

If you can boot into Windows, you can use the built-in CHKDSK feature to help troubleshoot a failed hard drive or hard drive with errors.

Start by launching the Start menu and choosing Computer. This will queue up the Computer window, which lists all active drives on the PC.

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In most cases, the internal and primary hard drive for the PC will be the local drive (C :). However, it may differ depending on your PC’s drive settings. In the Computer pane, locate your PC hard drive and right-click it. From the context menu, select the Properties option.

The Properties dialog box for the specific drive will open.

Click the Tools tab and select the Check Now option to check your hard drive for errors.

You should also read another post of mine on free hard drive testing and diagnostics tools to use in addition to CHKDSK.

Can’t boot into Windows

Cannot boot into Windows

If you are unable to boot into Windows, you also have the option to run the CHKDSK function (mentioned above) from the Windows Recovery Console. To create a system repair disc, you need a working Windows computer. As noted by Microsoft, you can create a system repair disc by following these steps:

You can run CHKDSK after booting from a system repair disc, but there are also several other utilities on the disc that can help repair and troubleshoot a Windows operating system that won’t load. Remember, for faulty or faulty hard drives, the goal is to be able to boot into Windows so that you can back up any important files or data from the drive.

Data Recovery

Data recovery

If none of the above options work, you can also try to recover data if your hard drive has important files or data that you absolutely need. Data recovery is a little more difficult, but in some situations it is worth it.

Data recovery is a complex process and can include advanced disk troubleshooting using fdisk and usually dedicated recovery software. If your hard drive has errors, is completely corrupted and won’t boot into Windows, you can recover files simply by removing the drive from your PC and using the hard drive enclosure to externally connect the drive to your existing Windows PC. From there, you can use dedicated software to manually browse the Windows drive using the file structure and manually move important files or data to another drive.

Also, to learn more about hard drives and complex data recovery options, you can read PCStats Beginner’s Guide to Hard Drive Recovery.

Full reformat and erase

Complete reformatting and erasing

In the event that Windows won’t boot and even System Restore can’t fix the hard drive, you should consider doing a full reformat and erase before treating the drive as a vegetable and throwing it in the trash. In some cases, such as a complex rootkit virus, Windows may experience system level errors in which it is best to use the hard disk format.

To completely format and erase your PC’s internal hard drive, you can create a bootable formatting disk. For this you can try DBAN or Darik’s Boot and Nuke. After booting from DBAN disk, you can wipe the main hard drive of the PC using the basic command line.

Bad hard drive

Failed hard drive

The worst case is a completely failed hard drive, which may have a faulty spindle, arm, or platter.

In the event that an actuator / lever or other mechanical component fails, you may decide that the actuator is finished. However, if you have extremely important data on the disk and the platters are still intact and intact, you can replace the platters with an identical disk and repair the disk, which will ultimately give you the ability to recover your PC’s data.

This requires in-depth technical knowledge of hard drives, calibration, and more. Therefore, in most cases it would be better for a technician or data recovery technician to do it than trying to do it yourself.

There are several ways to troubleshoot, repair, diagnose, and fix hard drive errors and failed hard drives. Enjoy!

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